Tag Archives: craft

Pyrography and painted flower trinket box

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Well, I’m back…

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  Between work and sort of being on a knitting kick lately, I finally sat down and did a few more jewelry boxes with the wood burning and paint.

I actually did this one a few months ago.  After I finished wood burning the image onto the box, I was almost tempted not to paint it.  However, I found that there is an amazing assortment of metallic paints that are readily available at my local craft store (yep, Michaels) and once I really started looking at the shelves and shelves of different paint, there is quite the variety available.

After randomly selecting the colors, as they felt right, I painted.

The only thing I’m disappointed with is that I’m having a really hard time getting the picture quality I like.  It’s very hard to see the metallic effects from this one.  I’ll actually try again when I seal it and see if it helps.

Thanks for looking!!!

Latest project…a box

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First off….WOW!!!  The response to my lost blog entry was unbelievable!!  Who would have thought that eggs would be so interesting?  I’m still thinking that I need to start working on another one sometime soon but since I’m still working the night shift, it’s out of the question; way to noisy.

This is a “quiet” project that I’ve recently done.  My niece (my clone, actually…) has a birthday coming up this month and I thought she’d like it.  We have a little thing that we do since I live here on Cape Cod and she lives in Michigan…we actually write letters to each other!!  No, not emails or tweets or Facebook entries…write with a writing instrument and paper.  When I get a letter from her, I normally send her some homemade little jewelry thing, mostly necklaces.  So I figured that she needed a box to put them in.  I showed my sister (her Mom) these pics and she decided that she wanted it instead.  Ummm…no.  I’m making one for her too.  That will probably be the next entry.

Anyway, it was really easy to do and this is how I did it:

First off, I think I need to explain something.  I absolutely LOVE the Michael’s craft store!!  There are two of them sort of close to where I live (but they’re bringing one to Hyannis this summer so I’m very happy) and I go there whenever I can.  There are two places that I normally get my craft supplies; Ebay, if it’s for eggs and Michael’s if it’s for everything else.  This box falls into the “everything else” category.

1.  Go to Michael’s, in the unfinished wood section, and buy a box.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Some even have the hinges and closures already there (like this one).  The best part is that they are very inexpensive (I think I paid 3 dollars for this one) and the possibilities are endless with a little imagination.

2.  Find some clip art that you like and trace it onto tracing paper.  This came from a clip art book I have with a bunch of mandala’s in it.  If you don’t know what a mandala is, I highly suggest you Google it…the images will blow your mind!!  I don’t use the originals from the book because they’re so pretty,  I don’t want to ruin them and may want to use them again.

3.  Take some regular graphite paper and trace the image onto the box.

4.  This is where it starts to get fun, at least for me.  The darkened areas that create the outlines isn’t paint…it’s wood burned.  Otherwise known as “pyrography”.  Again, Google if you want to get a little more info on it.  The applications are endless with the multiple tips that you can get for the wood burning tool.  And yes; you can buy them at Michael’s.  I like using the wood burning technique because I think it adds a beautiful, rustic feel to the piece.

5.  Once the wood burning is finished, I had to decide how I was going to paint it.  But I didn’t use regular paint.  I don’t think you can tell from these pics but the inside of the flower petals are bronze leafing (real metal).  The same as gold or silver leaf.  But, this stuff is called “Rubb ‘n Buff”.  It’s real metal leaf but it’s suspended in sort of a wax and can be applied with a paint brush.  It comes in about 15 different finishes and adds a very nice touch.  The rest of the “paint” is actually pigment that…I bought at Michael’s.  I didn’t want an opaque finish because I didn’t want to overwhelm the wood burning.  I watered it down until is was very thin, brushed it on and wiped the excess off with a paper towel.  I’m not sure but regular craft paint should work the same way.

6.  On the bottom of the box I glued 4 wooden balls to the bottom to act as legs.  Yep…got them at Michael’s!  The balls have one flat side to them so they can be glued on easily.

7.  Once everything is dry, I sealed the whole thing with a matte finish sealant.  Hubby thought a shiny finish would look good too.  I may have to try that with the next one.

Anyway, there you go.  One beautiful jewelry/trinket box!!  Quick, inexpensive and most importantly for me…quiet to make! LOL!!

Thank you all that have been following my blog!!  I’m humbled by the encouragement and kind remarks that I’ve received!!

Emu Egg

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First off, thank you to my friends that have commented on my blog!!!  I’m having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to respond to your replies (still REALLY new at this!) so please forgive, I’ll keep working on it.

I’ve gotten such an amazing response to the ostrich egg that I had in my previous post, I thought that it would be a good idea to show the first emu egg that I carved about 5 years ago.

Just a recap of an emu egg:

1.  This egg is not painted.  It is naturally emerald green on the outside with and aquamarine blue layer and a very white layer underneath still.  It takes quite a bit of patience (and a steady hand) to relief carve the image that you see.

2.  The egg shell itself is about .1 mm thick.  I’m lucky I’ve never broken one but it still takes a gentle hand to do.

3.  The egg itself is the exact shape and size of a Nerf football but feels like cool porcelain to the touch.

4.  I buy my egg shells on EBay.  I don’t have a big enough yard to keep emu’s and ostriches.

Okay, now that I have the basic facts out of the way…this is how I do it.  You really don’t have to have any free hand drawing skill, only the ability to trace existing patterns and have a steady hand when using the drill.  That does take some practice.

First, you get an egg.  Like I said, I get them from EBay.  The outside emerald green varies from egg to egg.  I prefer the darkest outside color because I think it compliments the aquamarine beneath it better.  But, I’ve seen eggs that are almost a sage green on the outside to a pale green.  I still like the darker ones.

Then, I decide my pattern.  I own A LOT of clip art books!  I get many clip art books from Dover Publications because the patterns are very clean and they (mostly) come on a DVD.  I prefer the DVD’s because I can size the patterns for my own needs.  I’ve also been known to use free clip art from the net.  I don’t use the copyrighted images that can be found on the internet because I think it’s stealing and respect the original artists for their effort and creativity.

Once I decide on the pattern, I print it out and decide the best way to get the image on the egg.  It’s challenging to get a two dimensional image on a three dimensional surface so sometimes I print the patterns onto adhesive backed paper (full or half page label paper that you can get almost anywhere).

When I get the stickers (that’s what they are by the time I’m done with them) on the egg, I do a rough outline carving of the pattern with the drill.  Once that’s done, I take the cut up stickers off and finish the egg.

I’ve also used graph paper to transfer images; white graph paper for the emu eggs (you can’t see regular graph paper because the egg is so dark) and the standard graph paper for ostrich and goose eggs.

Once the egg is completely finished, I wash it off really well and then allow it to dry completely.  When the egg is blown out, a hole about a 1/4 inch remains at the bottom.  I was advised not to cover it up because you want to keep the air flowing to the inside so it doesn’t deteriorate.  I also spray the outside with a clear, matte finish sealant so dust doesn’t stain the egg when it’s on display. If kept out of direct sunlight, these eggs can last forever!!

So, there you go.  Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about carving an emu egg.  I’m still in awe by the delicate beauty they have when completed.

I hope you enjoyed my entry!!!

I’ve been feeling a little crafty lately…

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Under The Sea via Ostrich Egg

I have been known to get very bored from time to time.

Unlike several people I know, sitting in front of a computer or the TV just isn’t an option for me… I can watch TV but my hands have to do something other than driving the remote.

I began my quest for “weird things to do with eggs” about 5 years ago when I first came to Cape Cod, not knowing anybody and a fairly recent widow (due to a strangely traumatic event; I may discuss some day but not today).  Since I didn’t really have anywhere to go, other than work, I relished in the new freedom of watching whatever I wanted on TV!!

As fate would have it, I was watching the DIY (do it yourself) network and there was a 20 second blip about “how to carve an ostrich egg”.  Some unidentified woman had a blank ostrich egg clutched in her left hand while the right hand held a small drill (it made me clench because it had the high-pitch whine of a dental drill) that danced wildly across the surface.  The scene switched to a beautiful carving of oak leaves intertwining themselves in a loose shape of where an ostrich egg once was…I was hooked!  The infamous words that plague most “crafty” people escaped my lips; “I can do that!!!”

The next step was to find the materials I required to fuel my new obsession.  I hit the internet.  Not expecting to find much on it, I found more than I expected.  There were solidly 30 web sites that displayed varying levels of talent and techniques that fueled my imagination.  So, I had an idea but nothing to express it with.  I surfed to my “old faithful” fallback of everything wonderful; I went on Ebay.

Anenome

Who would have thought that you could by empty and clean ostrich egg shells on Ebay?   I certainly didn’t but I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were they for sale; there were several people selling them!  So, I bought two.  Not having any clue as to what to do with them, I still bought them.

Then I needed a means in which to create the act of carving.

I referred back to the legitimate web sites for carving and the most obvious thing was that extracted for me was that a Dremel  was the worst thing to use due to the low RPM’s (roughly 40,000 per minute) and the vibrations created by that.  Vibration is not good when you’re carving AN EGG!!  I ended up buying a Turbo Carver (my own personal dental drill at 125,000 RPM’s!!) that had a little compressor that came with it.  Fairly portable and user friendly, according to the web site.  The drill bits were included and there were clear instructions enclosed…again, stated by the web site.

It took about 3 weeks for everything to arrive.  I was so excited that I made sure to tell the 8 people that I mildly knew through work (they were all guys…I didn’t get the desired effect that I hoped for from them) and kept looking at the web sites when I had spare moments.  I learned that ostrich eggs weren’t the only types of eggs that could be carved.  Emu eggs could also be carved!  I wasn’t quite sure of what an emu was but a little research answered many questions.  Instead of the standard “white” color of many eggs, an emu egg was naturally emerald green on the outside.  Once you went through the dark green, a beautiful shade of turquoise blue made itself known.  I admit, the contract between the two was gorgeous! The big surprise was that under the turquoise was the whitest white that was powdery and very thin.  Great skill was entailed in carving that.

Finally, everything arrived!  I had the drill, compressor and two creamy white ostrich eggs that felt like porcelain to the touch (they were much more stout than I thought they would be…I guess they would need to be tough in order to hold up a 250+ lb bird!).  I also had a million ideas of what I wanted to do.  So, what did I do first?!?  I put everything on the dining room table and looked at it for two weeks before I touched it again.  I guess it was a little intimidating for me at the time.

Needless to say, I eventually picked it up again.  I’ve finished several eggs to date;  3 ostrich eggs, 2 emu eggs, 2 giant goose eggs (in a filigree cut) and a brown chicken egg from my refrigerator at the time (I had to be sure I could do it before I started cutting into the good stuff).  Thankfully, I’m very surprised that they’ve turned out very well.  I’ve sold half of them but still have the rest around here.  I’m running out of room…

The pics attached to this entry show my latest creation.  I find that after I finish one, I can’t pick up another egg project right away.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s such a tedious process or just because I get sick of it.  But I’m sure I’ll pick one up again sometime soon because I have two more ostrich eggs sitting on my shelf waiting to be…changed.  I guess I need to start putting them on Ebay again, a woman only needs so many eggs in the house.

I know that this entry is different from my others but this is my interest for the day.  I hope you enjoy it!!!